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Dispose Or Recycle? Considerations For Getting Rid Of Computers

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Computers pose a unique challenge to people looking to get rid of their old systems. Even old computers may have some valuable components for either scrapping, placement in a new system, or collector's purposes. By understanding reusable computer components and barricades that may make reusing harder, you can make a more informed decision on what to keep or toss.

Be Aware Of Proprietary Systems

The standard desktop computer has a few components that can be placed inside other computers. Unfortunately, there are a few obstacles with parts that are commonly swapped in some systems.

Many large computer manufacturing companies use proprietary connectors for their components, such as shapes or pin positions that only work with a specific brand. If you plan on using any of the large computer manufacturing companies, consider upgrading to a similar model or asking expert technicians about compatibility with non-proprietary systems.

Why do companies use proprietary connections? The computer market is still relatively new, and many companies entered the market with their own ideas before a dominant standard was available. Computer-specific connections and pin settings are only recently becoming standardized, and many methods of computer design are slowly joining the neutral standards.

If you plan on salvaging motherboards, processors or even cases, make sure that your parts can be used with future systems either by sticking with the same manufacturer or checking for shared standards.

What Components Can Be Reused?

When scrapping a computer, not all parts can be taken away easily. Here is a list of the commonly salvaged components, their use and their salvage potential.

  • Power supply. The power supply brings in power to the rest of the computer, and is measured by watts. Higher wattage allows for additional, more powerful components to be added. The useful wattage for modern computers is a minimum of 400 watts, and the common power supply standard is ATX.
  • Motherboard. The motherboard connects all other components, and can be considered a map of computer hardware. The motherboard has the most complex set of standards, as the multiple standards for all other parts must match with the motherboard. Even in modern times, a motherboard can have several different standards at once. If the motherboard was released in the past 5 years--which can be found by researching the model number--you can possibly build a new system from it.
  • Memory. Computer memory, commonly under the Double Data Rate (DDR) Random Access Memory (RAM). There are multiple generations of the DDR standard, currently reaching to DDR4 with DDR3 being a still widely accepted standard. You can remove these RAM modules--also called 'sticks'--and use them in newer computers.

If you need help assessing the quality of components before sending the systems to the junkyard, contact a junk removal services professional like The Dump Guy.